Book Blitz: Caveman by Avery Kloss
Caveman by Avery Kloss A Time Travel Romance #1 Publication Date: August 3, 2015 Genres:Action / Adventure, Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
After crashing in a freak electrical storm, Janet Delgrange and three other passengers find themselves trapped in the past. They are not alone, traveling amongst long-extinct, giant creatures and the Clovis people, who are primitive and fierce. In order to survive, they must adapt, joining a close-knit tribe, whose alpha hunter, Gundre, frightens and fascinates Janet. Although the language and cultural barriers are extreme, they form a bond … and find a love ten thousand years in the making.
About Avery KlossHaving grown up on military bases and traveled the world, Avery Kloss is happily settled now, and ready to pursue her dream of writing. Her first effort is the time travel romance trilogy "Caveman", which will be followed shortly by "Caveman 2" and "Caveman 3".
Excerpt for Caveman #1
“This really isn’t funny, Phil,” I said. “Quit playing games. I know those images are from one of your trips.” Tears formed in my eyes, as the toll of the ordeal began to manifest. “I just want to go home. I’m so damn tired of walking and starving.”
“I’m not playing games.” He held the camera. “Come with me. I’ll show you for real, but we gotta be quiet.”
“Fine. I hope it’s not far.”
“Over the ridge. I sat on the hill watching them.”
“Right.” I didn’t believe him for a second, thinking maybe he had seen a mirage or had lost his mind. I felt like I was losing mine.
We wandered through a field to an incline, where we scrambled to the top, my heart racing from the exercise. Before we had reached the ridge, Phil grabbed me. “Easy. Look over carefully. We don’t want them to see us.”
“Okeydokey.” I dropped to the ground, grateful to be seated, while Phil lifted his head, his face partially hidden in tall grass. “There. Look.”
I took a peek, seeing what appeared to be a campsite in the distance. Two men, who wore what looked like leather skirts, sat and ate, the smoke from the fire lifting into the air, carried by the wind in another direction.
“Look through this.” He gave me the camera.
I lifted it to my eyes, staring into the distance. The people at the camp sat on the ground, with what appeared to be fur on their feet, tied with strips of leather. They were men, with incredibly long hair and beards, their bodies muscled and stocky.
“What do you think? Am I making it up? Does that look like a video to you?”
“No.” I continued to look, mesmerized by the spectacle, the carcass of an animal on the ground near the fire. “I … I don’t know. Where the hell are we?”
“It’s more like when the hell are we?”
“What?” I gave him the camera.
“I’ve been thinking about this. Something’s not right with this picture at all. That mastodon … that’s … when I saw that, I knew we were screwed.”
“It’s a wildlife preserve.”
He shook his head. “It’s another time and place.”
“We’ve ended up in another time and place, Janet.”
“Come on. That’s ridiculous.”
“How do you explain those people?”
“Homeless. They’re living off the grid. People do it all the time.”
“Looking like they just stepped out of the Encyclopedia Britannica?”
“They … they’ve gone back to nature.”
“I remember studying Paleo-Indians in eighth grade. Seeing an artist’s rendering of what he thought they looked like. It was close, but these guys have way more hair.”
I sighed. “That’s totally ridiculous. Go down, and say hi. I bet you five bucks they’re some weirdos living off the land.” That idea appealed to me. “They can direct us to the road. Maybe they have a satellite phone.”
“I’m not doing that.”
I got to my feet. “Then I will. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of being out here. I want to go home now.”
He grabbed me. “Get down!” he hissed.
“Ouch!” He dragged me to the ground. “Are you crazy? They’re just a couplaweirdos at a fire. They can help us.”
“We’ve no weapons. Did you get a load of their spears? They look lethal. Did you see their builds? Those men look like they belong to the WWE.”
“Pro wrestlers. I’m not goin’ down there. No way.”
Unpleasant thoughts drifted through my mind. “We need help, Phil. We’re going to have to talk to those guys.”
He stared at his fingernails, which were dirty. “I gotta think about this. Something’s totally messed up about this place.”
“Are you delusional? Are you hearing voices?” Maybe he hit his head in the crash.
“I’m perfectly fine. I’m not nuts. I didn’t bang my head. I’ve been observing people my entire life, Janet. It’s what I do for a living. I’ve been a professional photographer for fourteen years. I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve some experience with this. I know my shit.”
“I know my shit.”
“I’m aware of that, but this is different. Something happened to us on that plane. We … we went through an electrical storm that somehow threw us back in time.”
“Oh, Phil.” I smiled sympathetically. “This experience has been tough on us all. I wa—”
“I’m not crazy!” His eyes blazed. “I’m trying to tell you that we’re in another time and place. Everything we knew before is … over.”
“I want to go down and talk to them.”
He chewed on a nail, staring at me. “If we go, we gotta go together. We gotta stick together.”
“We’re heading in that direction anyhow.”
“I can’t go down unarmed. I gotta find a pocket knife at least.”
“You do that.” I got to my feet, scrambling down the hill. “You get your weapons all in a row.” I was being facetious, but I was too damn tired to care.
When we reached the others, music played, Claire draining the battery of another phone. “Hey, guys.” She smiled, having changed clothes. She wore jeans and a t-shirt. Pink lip-gloss glistened on her lips. “I’m so hungry. What’s there to eat?”
“Nothing,” I muttered.
Phil dug through his luggage, searching for something, lifting out what looked like a pocketknife. “Thank God.”
“Was that in your checked bag?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He slipped it into his pocket, glancing at Martha and Claire. “There are two guys camping in the valley. Janet wants to go down and say hi.”
“What?” Martha sat up. “You see people?”
“People who live off the land,” I said.
“What does that mean?” Claire stopped the music.
“I say they’re Paleo-Indians, but Janet thinks they’re a bunch of survivalists.”
“I’m not buying the time travel theory. It’s completely ridiculous.”
“What are you talking about?” Martha tied her sneakers. “What time travel theory?”
“Phil thinks we’ve gone back in time.”
Claire laughed, “It feels like it.”
“We have. Something happened to the plane. I’ve video of a mastodon on my camera. I’m seeing camels and cavemen. I’d say, yeah. We’ve gone back in time.”
Martha gave me a look, silently communicating. We thought Phil had lost his marbles. “Um … okay.” She got to her feet. “Let’s talk to the campers. I’m sure they’ll know how to contact the authorities.”
“I’m so ready to go home.” Claire held her suitcases, her eyes shaded by sunglasses. “I’m really starving now. I can go two days without food easy, but I usually eat something on the third day.”
Not knowing how to respond to that, I grasped the handle on my bag, dragging it behind me. “Awesome. Maybe the campers have something for us to eat. I’m getting to the point where the bugs are starting to look good. Protein, you know.”
“Ew … that’s gross.”
Martha came up to me. “Is Phil all right?”
“I don’t know. I saw the campers. They look … a little weird. They’re taking ‘being one with nature’ to the next level.”
“What do you mean?”
We trudged onward, strolling through the field to the incline, where we dragged our luggage to the top of the hill. Once we crested, we stared into the valley below, seeing for miles and miles, until a forest appeared far in the distance, with a mountain range jutting beyond.
“There is nothing out here,” muttered Martha. “Absolutely nothing.”
Phil pointed. “Not true. Natives. Check ‘em out.”
“The campers?” Claire stared. “I see them. I hope they’re cooking something good. I’m so hungry.”
I remembered the image in the video of the man drinking the blood from the animal. “Oh, it’s gonna be good, all right,” I said sarcastically. “If you’re a vampire.” Not wanting to waste more time, I passed them, dragging the luggage down the hill. I planned to prove Phil wrong by communicating with the men, who would no doubt speak English.
We stirred up a fair amount of dust, our approach anything but stealthy, and when Claire tripped and stumbled, screaming, “Fuck my life!” The men at the campsite took notice, springing to their feet. “I ripped my jeans. These are Dolce &Gabbana!”
Several blisters had formed on my hands from dragging fifty pounds worth of clothing and water bottles. I tasted dust when I ran my tongue over my lips, feeling thirsty. We were yards away from the campers, approaching slowly, although they stared at us, having brandished their spears.
Phil looked nervous; a sheen of perspiration had appeared on his forehead. “Slow, guys, slow.”
“What on earth?” Martha stared at the men. “What are they wearing?”
“Animal hides or something,” I said. “Hey!” I called, “Hi!” I waved. “Do you guys have a phone?”
We closed the distance fast. The strangers had taken up defensive postures, each with a spear in his hand, while their eyes flashed with alarm.
“Don’t go any further!” shouted Phil. “Stop. That’s close enough.”
I stared at the men, finding them utterly bizarre-looking, their features sharper than our own. The bridge of their foreheads bulged slightly over widely spaced eyes. They did not seem to know who we were, looking at us blankly, fearfully, seemingly just as nervous as Phil was.
“Hi,” I said, garnering their attention. “We’ve been in a plane crash. Do you guys have a satellite phone? We really need to call for help.”
They exchanged a glance, their eyes glittering with confusion, although I glimpsed a hint of intelligence in the taller man. The man with the unibrow spoke, uttering something guttural that did not sound like any language I had ever heard.
Phil came up behind me, murmuring, “What did I tell you, Janet?” He indicated the campers. “Meet primitive man. Primitive man, meet Janet.”
I threw my head back laughing.
“This is super creepy,” said Claire. “What’s going on?”
Not believing what Phil said for one moment, I continued forward, approaching the men, who stared at me with wild, frightened eyes. “Hi. I really need you guys to quit the whole historical reenactment thing. I appreciate the effort. You look fantastic, but we’ve just been in plane crash. We haven’t had any real food in days. We need to use your phone.”
In a flash of movement, I stared at a spear tip, pointed directly at my face.
“Hey, babe, how are you?” asked my fiancé, Bradley, over the phone.
“I’m good. It’s hectic here.” I stood by the mobile office, watching as a group of volunteers arrived, being escorted to their worksite by William.
“How many more days are you gonna be out there? We were supposed to meet my parents this weekend.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” I swatted at a flying insect. “I just … we’ve just had a major discovery. I want to tell you about it, but I’ve got to get back to work.” Uncovering the artifacts in the cave had taken priority over everything else, because we suspected that, once word got out, there would be a firestorm of media coverage. We had managed to keep it under wraps, but for how long?
“Will you stay the weekend then?”
“That really stinks, Amy.”
“It does, but it’s not forever. We’ll just postpone stuff a little. Tell your parents I said sorry. I did want to get together with them.”
“My mom wants to go over wedding planning. We still haven’t set a date.”
“We will.” Professor Pine arrived, parking his car by the trailer. “I need to go. Talk to you later.”
“Okay. Love you.”
“Yes, love.” I dropped the phone in my pocket, as Stephen approached. He wore brown trousers and a light blue top. A wide-brimmed hat shaded his face and neck. “Hey.”
“Good morning.” He grinned. “Anybody at the site yet?”
“Two volunteers.” We discovered something extraordinary yesterday, but the recovery process remained maddeningly slow. “I was going to head out to see if they’ve made progress.”
“So was I, but I gotta check on a few things. Professor Burdoff ran radiocarbon tests. He’s arriving this morning with the results, which I expect to be the same as ours.”
“No doubt.” Two nights ago he had all but asked me to sleep with him. I had been horribly tempted, stunned by the fact that I hadn’t really gotten over him yet. It was something I would have to work through, but these reactions bothered me greatly. “I put a fresh pot of coffee on.”
“Bless you.” He took to the steps. “Come keep me company, while I make a cup.”
“I … I’m going to the site. Somebody needs to supervise.”
“Suit yourself.” He stepped into the mobile office, closing the door behind him.
Having rained last night, wetness lingered on the ground, the humidity stifling. I longed to be in the cave, where it felt cool. Hurrying towards the worksite, I followed the little path, which wandered through a thicket and down an embankment to the opening. A cable from a portable generator ran inside to power the lights, the sound of music playing. Someone had a radio on, which made the hours of work far more enjoyable.
I entered, seeing a volunteer in the far corner, brushing sand from an artifact on the floor. “Morning.”
She glanced my way. “Morning, Professor Sandhurst.”
I came to stand over her, eyeing the bone fragments she had uncovered. “Good work.”
“It’s nice in here. It beats being out in the sun.”
“I know. It’s awesome. Who’s in the back?”
“Okay. I’m gonna see what he’s uncovered.” Squeezing through the tight opening, I emerged into the next chamber, where a volunteer sat in the center of the room, a brush in hand. “Morning.”
“How’s it goin’?”
“It’s coming along.”
The caves had been photographed and measured, sectioned off in a grid pattern. Professor Pine had brought in a metal detector, finding nothing in the first room, but it had gone off in the center of this one. “I want to help.”
“Absolutely. Grab a brush.”
This was what I lived for. This was why I became an archaeologist. The thrill of uncovering long-forgotten objects that might shed light on the past made all the endless weeks of scraping away at nothing worth the effort. Hundreds of hours of class time, thousands of hours in the field, hoping, searching, and waiting for a glimpse of archaic treasure. Something metal lurked beneath the surface of the floor, which defied all logic, because the Clovis culture had not obtained that technology.
Oh, Janet. What did you leave behind?
Two hours later, we had made progress, small, rounded shapes appearing beneath our brushes, and we knew they were coins. Professor Pine had joined us, taking over, while I sat nearby, eyeing the find with excitement. “God, this is killing me.”
“Patience, grasshopper,” said Stephen. “We’re nearly there. I’m seeing something.”
Getting on my hands and knees, I stared at the assortment of artifacts. They lay scattered together. “It’s a modern coin, isn’t it?”
“That’s what I’m thinking. I believe there’s a penny as well and a quarter.” He brushed away the last bit of dirt. “In God we trust.” Sitting back on his heels, he glanced at me, his expression less than pleased. “We’re never going to be able to prove this is Clovis culture. Unless we find some bone or charcoal that dates back, this is impossible. It’s a total waste.”
“Because people will assume someone buried it recently.”
“There’s more there, Stephen.” Small objects jutted, although they remained covered in dirt. “So, the money can’t be proven, but we all know who put it there.”
“That’s a theory.”
“I know it was Janet. She probably buried a bundle of things, hoping we’d find them.”
“And we have.”
“But there’s more.”
“Let’s see what else comes up. Grab a brush.”
It wasn’t long before the edges of a shiny object appeared, rounded and glowing like gold. “I’m guessing it’s a ring.”
Stephen nodded. “That’s my thought.”
“She’d been engaged. I bet it’s her ring.”
“Which, unfortunately, does not prove a hill of beans either.”
“But it’s hers. It’s over ten thousand years old. The oldest known gold find in the Americas is four thousand years. The beaded, tubed necklace from Lake Titicaca in Peru. That dates back to 2100 BC.”
“Yes, but I’m sure we’ll discover this one was crafted in 2012.”
William’s face appeared in the gap in the wall. “Hey, some guy is here to see you, Amy.”
Stephen seemed puzzled. “Who’s he?”
I was almost too stunned to speak. “Janet’s fiancé.”
“This will be uncovered soon.” He brushed away at the dirt, revealing more gold.
I got to my feet. “I’m coming.” William waited for me to squeeze through the opening; I emerged in the other chamber. “This is Janet’s fiancé. I’m shocked he came. He wasn’t too receptive to the idea that she time traveled.”
“It sounds … crazy, doesn’t it?”
“We’re collecting enough evidence. When you put it all together, it won’t be so crazy.” Emerging into sunlight, I glanced at the tall, slender man before me, holding out a hand. “Amy Sandhurst. I’m really surprised you came.” I grinned.
He did not return the smile, but he shook my hand. “Brian Lutz. I’m surprised I came. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here.”
A volunteer had brought him over. “Thanks, Marlene.”
“No problem, Professor Sandhurst.” She turned to leave.
“We’ve just made a new discovery. You should come in and see it.”
“I suppose I should, but I think all of you are nuts.”
“You almost have to be to work in this profession,” I giggled. “We’re all questioning our sanity nowadays. Nothing’s making any sense, but the evidence speaks for itself. You can’t argue with the science of radiocarbon dating. It’s not negotiable. You can assume everything else is just coincidence or hypothesis, but when something is tested and it comes back with a date, it’s irrefutable. It’s like a DNA sample.”
He followed me into the first chamber, gazing around. “You people go through a lot of effort to dig in the dirt.” It had been painstakingly sectioned off in a grid pattern.
“We do. It’s our job to be as thorough and accurate as possible. It’s this way.” I squeezed through the opening, and he followed.
Stephen glanced at us. “It’s an engagement ring all right. Quite a bit of the gold’s worn off, but everything else is intact.”
“This is Brian Lutz, Professor Pine. He bought that ring.”
Brian came to stand beside me, and then he crouched, glancing at the floor. “I see dirt.”
I squatted next to him, pointing. “Those are coins. Modern coins. The ring’s modern as well, since Clovis man didn’t have the technology to craft metal. They were stone and bone people.”
“Anyone could’ve buried this stuff at any time.”
“Very true,” agreed Stephen. “We won’t be able to prove anything with these artifacts. They’re more circumstantial, but the cave paintings are authentic. The message on the ceiling dates back. I’m one-hundred percent certain Janet Delgrange and three other people lived in the Clovis period.” He brushed away at the ring, revealing it completely. A round diamond sat in a six-prong mounting, surrounded by small diamonds on either side, although two had fallen out, lying nearby. The metal had disintegrated with age, looking frail.
Brian pulled out a cell phone, scrolling through pictures, finding one of a ring. “I gave this to her.” He had photographed it at the store, sitting in a velvet-lined box. “It’s a carat and a half with another half carat of small stones. The diamond itself is laser engraved with a serial number, which I have.”
I stared at the picture, looking at the ring in the dirt. “Could be one and the same, but we won’t know until it’s out.”
Stephen stared at the image. “Interesting. Nice ring, by the way.”
“We’ll need that picture, if you don’t mind. You can send it to Amy. Once we remove the artifacts, we’ll examine everything thoroughly. If it’s laser engraved, we’ll find the number.”
“Would you like to see the drawings she did?” I indicated the ceiling. “She was a busy woman. She must’ve been bored.” I grinned, but Brian wasn’t smiling.
“Yeah, I’ll have a look.” But I sensed it was more to humor us than out of genuine interest. I gave him a flashlight, although there was sufficient lighting. “Thanks.”
He glanced overhead, eyeing the artwork.
“She would have drawn things she saw in her everyday life.” I pointed. “Those are clearly turtles. There are about twenty drawings of deer. They were probably a staple in their diets. The mastodons are impressive. Can you imagine seeing one of those in the flesh? They grew to over nine feet in height and weighed nearly five tons. They were prevalent at the time and were hunted.” He pointed the light on an image we had not been able to make out. “I don’t know what that is.” It looked like a mistake, a messy paint spot.
“She was working on design logos for her website. One of the ideas was a paint splotch. She was going to write Janet Art on the inside. I’ve her notebooks at home. She did a few variations of that idea.”
“You think that’s what she drew?”
“Looks like it.”
“When you get back, can you take pictures of those drawings and send them to me?”
“I will.” He continued to stare at the paintings overhead.
“What do you think? Clovis man wasn’t known for cave art. This is extremely uncharacteristic, but it wasn’t done by any Paleo-Indian. It was done by Janet.”
“It could be.”
“Do you have any other examples of her artwork?”
“I’d really love to see them. I can give you an address to send stuff to. We can compare it to these, but I’m certain they’re from the same artist.”
He took a deep breath. “This is impossible.” He glanced at me. “What you’re suggesting is … crazy.”
“It is, but for some insane reason, she was here ten thousand years ago.”